The Endocannabinoid System

Your Endocannabinoid System (ECS) is a system that is broadly dispersed throughout your brain and body and is made up of specific receptor sites – or little docking stations – on nearly every organ. These receptors are stimulated by endocannabinoids, which are naturally produced by our bodies. From stress to pain response, the ECS plays a very important role in many of your bodily functions.

ECS directs, corrects, and manages your health.

The system is integral to your overall homeostasis, or the management of balance within your body. Our bodies have the opportunity to learn, feel, and keep balance through the usage of the ECS. The endocannabinoid system plays a vital role in:

Appetite and Digestion

Metabolism

Chronic Pain

Inflammation

Sleep

Motor Control

Skin and Nerve Function

Stress

Reproductive System Function

Getting into the details.

Your endocannabinoid system works in a lock-and-key model and contains three key components including:

Cannabinoid Receptors

CB1 Receptors: This receptor is mainly found in your brain and central nervous system and is also found in your nerves and some organs. Activation of this receptor by endocannabinoids produces either short- or long-term changes in the efficacy of synaptic transmission.

CB2 Receptors: This receptor is primarily located in the peripheral nervous system, reproductive system, and cardiovascular system. It is also primarily located in the immune tissue and assists in controlling immune function.

Endocannabinoids

AEA: Also known as N-arachidonoyl-ethanolamine or Anandamide, is a fatty-acid neurotransmitter and was the first endocannabinoid to be discovered. AEA assists in the ECS by binding to cannabinoid receptors. It is responsible for the “runners high” experienced when working out.

2-AG: Also known as 2-Arachidonoylglycerol, is a full agonist to both cannabinoid receptors but primarily binds to CB2. It helps to mediate the immune functions in the body to promote healing.

Enzymes

To create and destroy the cannabinoids

Fatty acid amide hydrolase, which breaks down AEA

Monoacylglycerol acid lipase, which breaks down 2-AG

How does it all function together? The endocannabinoid receptors bind with the endocannabinoid molecules, which in turn signals the ECS to take necessary action. The enzymes come into play by breaking down the endocannabinoid after it has carried out its function.


How CBD and other Cannabinoids work with the ECS:

Cannabinoids, such as CBD, are known to “fit” inside the receptors like an existing lock and key, just like the naturally occurring endocannabinoids.

In response to our always changing environment, our bodies naturally produce endocannabinoids that bind to our endocannabinoid system receptors to maintain homeostasis. There are active cannabinoids that are like our bodies’ natural cannabinoids, which allows them to be compatible with our ECS. Such active cannabinoids include CDB, CBG, and CBN.

Click here to read more about these cannabinoids.


Treating Your ECS with Cannabinoids:

Experts have begun to theorize clinical endocannabinoid deficiency (CECD) associated with many underlying chronic health issues. After the discovery of the ECS in the 1990s, researchers have been speculating what happens when the ECS is lacking these vital endocannabinoids and thus not functioning properly. In the same way issues can stem from low blood-sugar levels, a lack of cannabinoids and a properly functioning ECS is theorized to be a contributing factor as to why some people develop migraines, fibromyalgia, irritable bowel syndrome, and other treatment-resistant syndromes that can be linked to CECD.